State-run Air India is likely to face some fresh turbulence as one of its pilots’ union, Indian Commercial pilots Association (ICPA), has decided not to fly beyond the prescribed duty hours in the interest of passengers “safety” and avoid “stress”.
The Association, in a communication to airline’s executive director for operations today said that it has directed all ICPA members not to give extension on flight and duty period under any circumstances.
The decision to strictly adhere to the scheduled duty hours was taken in the interest of safety of passengers and flight, it said.
ICPA has 670 members under its fold and it represents the pilots of erstwhile Indian airlines
As per the flight and duty time norms, the maximum duty time period for pilots is twelve-and-a-half hour.
However, the Pilot-in-Command (PIC)can extended these duty hours by a maximum of three hours.
“ICPA pilots are under immense stress… the frequent changes in programmed flights and pull outs at short notice due to the acute shortage of pilots are adding to the already increased stress levels leading to severe fatigue conditions, endangering flight safety,” it said.
According to ICPA, a pilot would not operate a flight if it gets delayed due to any reason and during which the pilot has exhausted his duty hours.
Meanwhile, the Association has also started conducting a secret ballot to decide whether to declare a strike at the state-run airline against a notification by the airline management removing pilots from the workmen category.
ICPA had on last Friday informed its members members that “the central executive committee is of the strong judgement to declare strike” , adding that “a secret ballot is called for this purpose from August 31 to September 6 for a mandate as per the constitution of ICPA”.